Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Received a written compalint from a neighbour - so I have to reply?

(92 Posts)
8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:05:44

I've namechanged as details are 'outing'. Sorry it's long but I've tried to include all relevant details.

My DD2 is collected by our CM at 7.55 Mon- Fri. We live in a block of flats, with stairs to access it, so CM rings our buzzer, we take DD down to her. Short interchange and she is off. This takes between 5-10 minutes maximum. It involves some small discussion with CM, kisses and waves bye bye. It is short and we try to keep our voices down - but it is 8am in the morning.

CM can't come to our flat door as its up several flights of stairs and she has a buggy.

My neighbour works shifts. She has written to me claiming I am interfering with her right to peaceful enjoyment of her property, and the above interchange is excessively loud and long and wakes her around 8am, which is the "equivalent of 5am" for her. The noise is so incredibly loud (allegedly) that ear plugs don't work for her.

She claims that the above handover takes 30 minutes or even longer every morning between 7.30 am and 8.20 am and is very loud. This is completely inaccurate. It is 5 minutes most mornings, sometimes 10 maximum if I have forgotten something and have to run back upstairs, and it is ALWAYS at 7.55/8am. It is talking voices only. There are many children in the neighbourhood and a school a short distance away. It seems she is attributing any noise she hears to me & my DD.

She claims sound echos "as I will know from the days when my DP used to go downstairs and shout at the kids"!! Seriously WTF? This has never happened - There was a family with a garden backing onto our flats (right under her window) who had small children and she must be thinking of them. Nothing to do with us.

She claims a right "to peaceful enjoyment" of her property - HR Act language. The HR is re peaceful enjoyment from govt interference is it not? It is not a right to have complete quiet in your flat at all times. I should also add here, for context, that the flats are on a main road & bus route in central London - well used by emergency services vehicles at all times with sirens etc. Its a noisy place day & night.

Even if my children were excessively loud (which they aren't), according to the CAB it is pretty much unactionable.

Surely I am allowed to converse with another person, in a normal voice, outside a block of flats between 7.55 & 8.05 am? The shift patterns of my neighbour really aren't my concern - what if I had 5 neighbours working different shifts? Would it be unreasonable to talk to another person outside my flat at any time of the day lest it's "5am" in someone else's world?

This neighbour and I have history from many years ago before she lived in this flat. I think she is a nasty person and do not want to have anything to do with her at all.

I will of course further attempt to keep our voices down during the handover, and will tell CM that we must talk about anything we need to on the phone later, rather than at collection time, but I really don't think that we are doing anything wrong at all. However I do not want to engage with her on any level or reply to her ridiculous & wildly inaccurate email.

Apparently she is also complaining to all the other residents in the flats about us - I get on really well with the neighbours I know (several) and no one has ever said anything to me about noise. I apologised to our immediate neighbour re noise one day recently when DD1 was having the mightiest tantrum & he knocked on our door (about another matter) - he hadn't heard a thing!

Clearly I think her complaint is inaccurate and unjustified. She should invest in some of those wax ear plugs if she has an issue with noise and needs to sleep during the day, as shift workers the world over do (my parents were shift workers so I am well aware of the stresses they are re sleep under having grown up with it).

Do you think I have a legal duty to reply to her email?

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:11:20

sorry title should say DO I HAVE TO REPLY?

FireOverBabylon Fri 05-Oct-12 11:14:07

No, just ignore her. What does she seriously think this will achieve? It's not your fault that she works shifts - it's not like your hoovering for an hour is it?

lubeybooby Fri 05-Oct-12 11:14:26

She needs to suck it up. If she doesn't want noise at normal times of the day then she should get a detatched house in the middle of nowhere.

I don't know the legal position about replying but peaceful enjoyment of property applies to landlords not visiting every five minutes doesn't it?

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:20:22

Thanks for reading that very long post!! And for your replies.

The rights re landlord is to "quiet enjoyment" of the property against the LL. Peaceful enjoyment is Human Right Act language - but is re "peaceful enjoyment from Govt interference" (Article 1 of Protocol 1)

SarkyWench Fri 05-Oct-12 11:21:41

I'd reply.

"I think you are confusing us with someone else - we are not ever down there at some of the times you mention. Good luck sorting this out. xxx"


8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:24:37

oooh that's sarky!!!
I would LOVE to send her a 'correcting' reply but the satisfaction that might give me will be outweighed by having actually engaged with her, which will then invite a reply etc etc.

flyoverthegoldenhill Fri 05-Oct-12 11:27:28

fell about laughing when I read you live in central London ! I've worked shifts and it wouldn't bother me, especially as your other neighbour heard nothing. Ignore her, but why does she have your email address ? Ignoring an email -you know it is not a criminal offence. Do not act differently to your cm it would be awful if one day in your hasteto say <whatever is essential for her to know>

ProudNeathGirl Fri 05-Oct-12 11:33:12

Agree with everyone. Be the bigger person - don't get involved in a slanging match. I wouldn't bother to reply.

If it wasn't you making a noise, it would be the postman, or the milkman, or someone else delivering something or reading meter. Ignore her.

surfingbabies Fri 05-Oct-12 11:33:43

Just ignore her, don't give her the satisfaction! but if you do reply.......I love SparkyWench's reply :-)

SarkyWench Fri 05-Oct-12 11:34:33

or just giggle quietly to yourself everytime you see her.


whogivesaduck1 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:35:49

i'd go with sarkywenchs idea!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 05-Oct-12 11:37:21

Definitely ignore. You've changed your email address anyway haven't you! wink

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:41:11

She has my email address as there is a small Residents Assn. I don't attend meetings - largely as I have no wish at all to engage with this woman on any level. But I am cc'ed on RA emails and she is secretary.

I will continue to do what I have done since she moved into the flats - completely ignore her.

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:44:05

The reason I posted in legal is after checking council website re neighbour disputes, it say first course of action is to email neighbour. Then you can escalate it via the council. So I just wanted to ensure that ignoring her email isn't going to put me in a vulnerable position later down the road should she try to take further action - I suspect she might.

Though I very much doubt any council would get involved.

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:44:42

The reason I posted in legal is after checking council website re neighbour disputes, it say first course of action is to email neighbour. Then you can escalate it via the council. So I just wanted to ensure that ignoring her email isn't going to put me in a vulnerable position later down the road should she try to take further action - I suspect she might.

Though I very much doubt any council would get involved.

I wouldnt give her the satisfaction of replying and I cant think of any reason you would be required to.

What I am wondering is that you have supplied the Residents Association with your email address, for the purpose of receiving communications from them. If she, as Secretary, is privy to your email address details and is using that address for correspondence not related to her position, is she doing so in contravention of the Data Protection Act?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 05-Oct-12 11:50:37

8am, I don't think your noise would be considered unreasonable. You have just as much right to move about your flats, as your neighbour does to be asleep in her flat. I can't believe you are the only person going about your business at 8am in the morning - it is peak time for people to be leaving their homes to get to work.
If you were having a party or screaming & shouting that would be different - but you're not.
If you are worried about looking bad if she takes her complaint to the council, you could write a polite email back saying you acknowledge her email, you don't believe that you make an unusual amount of noise as you go about your daily business, but that you have taken note of her comments.

8amIsnt5am Fri 05-Oct-12 11:53:12

I believe it probably is Squirted and if I was going to reply to her I would certainly mention that.

But I'm just going to ignore ignore ignore. I will keep the DP Act breach up my sleeve though.

CaseyShraeger Fri 05-Oct-12 11:53:27

I'd have said so (contravening DPA).

AnitaBlake Fri 05-Oct-12 11:54:08

She might take it to the council, who may or may not attempt to mediate, but there's certainly no statutory nuisance issue that they could use. I would ignore tbh and would have advised you to do that when I worked in local government. She works shifts, its her problem if she can't sleep I'm afraid.

Caerlaverock Fri 05-Oct-12 11:55:55

Could cm text you? Could you meet her outside?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 05-Oct-12 11:56:05

You need to be very sure of the data protection thing. It may well be that as Secretary of the Residents Association, she is the first point of call in the case of any concerns residents may have about issues that affect them. In which case, as Secretary she would be perfectly within the rights of the Data Protection Act, as Secretary, to contact you.

CaseyShraeger Fri 05-Oct-12 11:57:50

The advice to email first is so that if you were doing something unreasonable/actionable it would give the two of you a chance to sort it out amicably before involving the council and making an official complaint. But you aren't being unreasonable - honestly, can you see the council reacting well to "My neighbour answers her doorbell at 8am; I demand you stop her immediately!"?

FushiaFernica Fri 05-Oct-12 11:58:40

If this handover is causing distress to a neighbour I really think you should reply to this neighbour regardless of what your views on the neighbour are. I personally do not understand why the handover needs to be lengthy, is there no way you can have a long discussion with the childminder at the end of the day rather than the beginning?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now